Just a day before the much anticipated and widely covered pro-gun and 2nd Amendment rally in Virginia was set to kick off, one NBC reporter had some very damning things to say about the upcoming event. It was also an erroneous statement and one that seems intended to incite anger.
Imagine, as we celebrate this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, if members of the Ku Klux Klan showed up, holding signs opposing the celebration. Picture a gathering of support and a rally for cancer survivors, and there in the back of the crowd stood a group of supporters for cigarette manufacturers.
Would anyone suggest that there was a Klan rally being staged because a few members showed up to protest? Is there anyone who would call the cancer support event a rally to defend cigarette manufacturers as a result of that small group in the back of the crowd? No, of course not, at least nobody in their right mind, unless there was an ulterior motive.
As one story reported, that is essentially what one NBC reporter did, when Ben Collins called the much anticipated 2nd Amendment rally in Virginia a “white nationalist rally.” Where exactly his ideas came from regarding his labeling of this annual event is anyone’s best guess.
In Collins’ own words, according to the story, just a day before the event he tweeted, “Reporters covering tomorrow’s white nationalist rally in Virginia, I’m absolutely begging you: Verify information before you send it out tomorrow, even if it’s a very sensational rumor you heard from a cop. Don’t become a hero in neo-Nazi propaganda circles with made-up stuff.”
“Made-up-stuff”? Like this being a white nationalist rally?
This leads us back to the beginning of the conversation. Was this just a complete lack of understanding? If so, then someone should explain to poor Mr. Collins how the world works. When he says, “white nationalist” he could be speaking of skinheads, klan members, neo-Nazis or others, but any of which could be in support of gun owner rights. The same way any number of the anti-gunners could also be skinheads, klan members, or neo-Nazis.
The point is Mr. Collins, having people with such misguided and ugly beliefs don’t in any way determine or reflect the majority of those who are 2nd Amendment defenders and gun supporters. No more than it determines or reflects the majority of anti-gunners. Yet, it seems Mr. Collins likely knows this already, he is a “journalist” after all.
That leads us to the possibility of such inflammatory remarks being made for ulterior reasons altogether. Reasons such as attention, fame, or shock. Unfortunately, if this was an attention-getting publicity-seeking move, it was in poor taste.
If this was a Howard-Sternesque shock jock attempt, it was in the wrong forum. There may be room for that type of silliness and nonsense within certain circles of society, but it has no place in the arena of politics or the realm of such serious issues like our 2nd Amendment rights.
What is even more damning about these juvenile reports is the fact that there have been rumors and talks of violence. Making a statement that only can be used to promote anger and potential violence isn’t only unprofessional, it is also irresponsible and careless.
Hopefully, Mr. Collins’ following isn’t that large and hopefully, as it has for years now the rally will commence and close without event. And assuming it does, it will be in no way a result of Mr. Collins’s poorly timed and worded tweets.
Unfortunately, the tensions are already heated surrounding this year’s 2nd Amendment rally, much more so than in the past. In fact, those rumors according to our story have even prompted Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to declare a “state of emergency.” He has also banned guns from being at the rally.
In addition to this, the NRA has been more vocal than usual with some verbiage directed specifically toward Governor Northam. What type of brat would walk by a potential time bomb, stop long enough to light the fuse and walk away?
It was just poor taste, bad timing, and ugly commentary. And it wasn’t very smart either, Mr. Collins.